Hidden contexts and invisible power relations: A Foucauldian reading of diversity research

Pasi Ahonen, Janne Tienari, Susan Meriläinen, Alison Pullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


This article joins recent critical diversity studies that point to an urgent need to revitalize the field, but goes further by showing the inherent contextual issues and power relations that frame existing contributions. Based on a theoretical reading inspired by Michel Foucault, diversity is presented as discourse that is not independent of the particular research exercise of which it is part but, rather, remains contingent on the prevailing forms of knowledge and choices made by researchers. By attending to more refined understandings of power and context within diversity discourse, this article makes visible and calls into question the categorization and normalization of diversity and its management. It contributes to existing research by suggesting that the knowledge produced by mainstream and critical diversity scholars alike is biopolitical and governmental. To do diversity research differently or 'otherwise' requires finding ways to develop theorizations and practices that turn this modality of power against itself.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalHuman Relations
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)263-286
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management


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